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Choose a record that illustrates a great vocal that works due to the singer’s conviction and/or personality, rather than their vocal range and technique.

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ANALYZING VOCAL PERFORMANCE
PART 1
Choose a record that epitomizes your vision of the “virtuoso” singer. Listen to the record with fresh ears, using the listening techniques you’ve been developing. Write a short analysis of the record.
In your analysis:
1. Include the name of the artist, song title and genre.
2. Chart the form of the record and identify the developing emotions conveyed throughout.
3. Locate the climax.
4. Analyze how the virtuoso elements of the vocal performance contribute to the record’s emotional impact.
5. Analyze the emotional contour of the vocal and its contribution to the emotions of the record.
6. Comment on other aspects of the record that you haven’t yet analyzed (artist’s identity, instrumental arrangement and performance, groove and lyrics).
PART 2
Choose a record that illustrates a great vocal that works due to the singer’s conviction and/or personality, rather than their vocal range and technique. Listen to the record with fresh ears, using the techniques you’ve been developing. Write a short analysis of the record.
In your analysis:
1. Include the name of the artist, song title and genre.
2. Chart the form of the record and identify the developing emotions conveyed throughout.
3. Locate the climax.
4. Analyze how the singer’s conviction and/or personality contributes to the record’s emotional impact.
5. Analyze the emotional contour of the vocal and its contribution to the emotions of the record.
6. Comment on other aspects of the record that you haven’t yet analyzed (artist’s identity, instrumental arrangement and performance, groove and lyrics).
You don’t need to do an entire production timeline of each of these records (although you’re certainly welcome to). A list of the form with the climax indicated will suffice.
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Having virtuoso singing chops can open up more options in terms of repertoire, and could give the singer an expanded range of how to express oneself vocally. This is great, but not without potential pitfalls. A couple to consider: * Virtuoso vocal expression in the service of the emotion of the song can be an effective tool. Gratuitous use of vocal gymnastics in order to impress the listener, while often a crowd-pleasing live ego-boost, can backfire on a recording. Intention is important here.
* Sometimes great singers wind up embarrassing themselves in the long run due to the songs they choose to sing; if your artist sounds good singing anything, it’s easier to let yourself become less rigorous in the selection of material. It’s good to ask the question, “Will we still be proud of this record in twenty years?” Sinatra was famous for walking in to the studio and nailing his performance on the first or second take, while singing along with a full orchestra… Live TV performances demonstrate how virtually flawless Ariana Grande’s performances are… The vocal track for “My Heart Will Go On,” the Grammy winning, best-selling, Titanic record performed by Celine Dion, was recorded in one take in a demo studio. Originally intended to be a demo for the eventual record, everyone involved in the project, from producer Walter Afanasieff, to composer James Horner, to Titanic film director James Cameron, agreed that the vocal was “perfect” and there was no reason to do it again.
Compared to working with singers who take a few passes just to start warming up, recording the virtuoso singer can present its own set of challenges.
A few tips to capturing the virtuoso singer on record
Be ready on the first take.
The virtuoso singer may nail it in one take, and if you’re not ready, you risk losing something special. Be sure to have everything set up, checked out, and levels set before they even start singing.
Consider setting up two microphones.
Especially if your singer uses a lot of dynamics, setting up two mikes, one closer in and one slightly further back, can be an excellent way to capture a performance and give you more options later. Try an unobtrusive small-diaphragm condenser mic one foot back from the main vocal mike for starters.
Have a pop filter (or two).
It’s a real drag to not be able to use an emotionally gripping performance due to a big gust of wind hitting the diaphragm of the mic right at the climax.
Be aware of room tone.
This is much more of an issue with loud singers, as louder sounds will bounce off the walls and ceilings and reflect back into the mic. Absorptive treatment of small spaces is a good idea if you will be recording loud singers there.

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